Saturday, July 25, 2009

Paolo Nutini

I met Paolo Nutini last night. He's a sensation and all the more so in an intimate pre-show living-room performance in an acoustic gig I was privileged to attend thanks to The River 92.5 and the Green Alliance. It's a silly comparison – crossing forms and modes – but he's a Bode Miller of music, albeit happy and seemingly comfortable with other people. He offered our preshow show his songs and his band of performers. They also looked to relish just playing. Altlantic recorded and rumor has it we'll be able to hear the mini-gig on the radio. We could have been in the Buena Vista Social Club, or a southern porch, with the rhythm slapped out by a box upon which the drummer sat.

Great performance is PRESENCE. And Paolo is rooted in his song, wistful, longing and connecting to the presence of all great perfromance. Wish I could have pulled out my Sony webbie and grabbed the moments, flickering candles, and budha statues lit by the flames looking on over Paolo's shoulder. On second thought – glad I could just be there and not have to work. (Wasn't enough light, anyway, so I cut the thought.)

But this sheer genius of voice and instrument isn't simply an invention of the moment. This kid cut his chops in a studio and clearly watched, listened, learned. He knows how to take the stage and share the stage. The blend of personalities is strung together by someone who has seen good and knows how to tap it. That makes him REALLY GOOD. It's where the Bode comparison holds. You don't get to great moments of presence and performance without the chops to transcend those very chops. It's what we all look for – at least speaking for myself – this performance that leaps off the stage, frees us from gravity, and turns our solo acts into connected art.

I pitched Paolo into connecting to the issue of climate change and if it hits him I'm sure he will. We all need that sense of presence, if not simply the presence itself.

Here's a clip that does a decent job of connecting to Paolo. Find him yourself.